Thursday, June 21, 2007

Eight Arms To Hold You

I finally got my hands on the 45 picture sleeve of "Ticket to Ride/Yes It Is". The cool thing about this pressing, is that both sides of the disk say, From the United Artists Release "Eight Arms To Hold You". This was in reference to the Beatles' upcoming film, which was eventually titled Help!. The single came out a few months before the film.

I remember back in the 60's, my friends the Wilson sisters of Portland, Pam and Rose, had this single, and I begged them to sell it to me. I thought it was so cool. But it was no go.

Now, 40 years later I finally have my own copy.

The Beatles recorded a lot of songs that were candidates for the movie. "Ticket to Ride" made it, but "Yes It Is" didn't. So I'm listening to "Yes It Is", and thinking, as I have for years, that the lyrics are kind of weird. John sings about how he doesn't want his new girlfriend to wear red because it will remind him of his old flame. Strange behavior. The singer is so hung-up and controlling that he doesn't want his girl to wear a particular color of clothing.

Anyway, as I listen to it for the 10,000th time, I wonder why it didn't make the cut as one of the movie songs, or where it might have gone if it had made it. In the movie, the bad guys from the Eastern cult the Kaili, are after Ringo because he's wearing a sacred ring. Their plan, according to the rules of the cult, are to paint Ringo red and sacrifice him. And then I realize the lyrics of "Yes It Is" have lines about the color red ("Please don't wear red tonight", "Scarlett are the clothes she wore").

So I wonder: Did they write the song with references to "red" because of the script? (Not only do the Kaili want to paint Ringo red, but the giant evil ring stuck on his finger is also red). This seems unlikely, unless it was done unconsciously. Except for the title tunes, Beatle movie songs never had anything to do with the actual plot.

I assume the lyrics about the color red were just a coincidence.

But did the lyrics have anything do with why the song wasn't in the film? Did the filmmakers find the references to "wearing red" and the use of red in the picture confusing and distracting?

Or did the filmmakers even catch the "red" connection, and simply chose not to use the song for other reasons?

Either way, it's a connection I never got before I got my hands on that damn single.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Paul, Ringo, Yoko and Olivia on Larry King

This is huge. On Tuesday, June 26th, Paul, Ringo Yoko and Olivia will appear together on Larry King for a hour long interview.

In my recollection, this will be a first. Paul and Yoko together on a talk show? It's going to be interesting, and no matter what you think of King, he doesn't shy away from asking interesting questions. I still remember when he asked Marlon Brando how he deals with the suicide of his daughter, and Brando just got pissed. It's no surprise he never went back.

Monday, June 04, 2007

I Miss Linda

It's easy to say Linda had no business playing in a band. But the truth is, those early albums like Ram, Red Rose Speedway and Band on the Run are great. And her vocals are just fine. Yeah, it's not Lennon or Harrision, but those who say she was off-key just don't get it. They're probably the same bunch who think Dylan and Neil Young are lousy singers.

Linda's harmonies, more than any other piece of the puzzle, give Wings their distinct "sound". And give Paul some credit. If he thought her singing was bad, he wouldn't have used her.

And she also provided some great photos. The cover of McCartney alone is proof that she had talent.

But besides her collaborations with Paul, I miss her presence. Is it just me, or did Paul seem more "real" with her? I suspect that she was a major force to keep him in check. And while it seems crude when Paul maintains "I was the avant-garde one! John lived in the suburbs!", it would've been different coming from her. She could defend his legacy while he sat back and said "Aw, shucks."

Paul repeats the same old stories and keeps trying to convince us why he's important and underrated. It became his mantra after Linda died. I'm guessing she was the only one who could tell him, "Quit telling that same story about when you wrote Hey Jude and John said 'the movement you need is on your shoulder' is the best line!"

And what about the fight he had with Yoko when he wanted to change the song credits on his Beatles songs to "McCartney-Lennon"? After Ringo said to the press the it was "wrong", Paul backed off. If Linda had been around, he probably would've never suggested it in the first place.

Yeah. I miss Linda. And I'm sure our Paul does, too.